A real-time strategy game, Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades depicts the events in the history of the Teutonic Order. The Teutonic Order was a crusader state formed during the Northern Crusades in the 13th Century. Key events in the unfolding of this history are witnessed throughout the game. Prussia in this period is the only remaining pagan kingdom in Europe. The gameplay requires the player to act as Komtur of the Teutonic Order. The objective is to invade Prussia with swords and firepower.
The more than 25 battles that occur serves to give the player experience. As the player gains experience, the ability to upgrade troops by increasing their attributes becomes an option. Whenever level-ups happen, points incurred may be spent improving any of 16 skills, such as more powerful spear attacks, higher trade income, or the ability to acquire more resources from battles. Well-experienced heroes can command larger armies of more advanced units. Skirmish battles comprise six players who engage in fighting on any of a number of maps or on random battlefields produced by the map generator. The game has a built-in editor for modifying the maps and creating different scenarios.
One of the highlights of Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades is its precision. There is a wide range of medieval military units, each with its own level of performance in combat. The game lets players know how effective each unit is by displaying numbers on armor, weapons, formation, speed, fatigue, terrain, and discipline. It also shows whether units in the front, rear, and flanks are under attack. Whenever a unit is in panic, the source of distress is easily identifiable (for example, if fatigue is high, the terrain is difficult, or armor is at too low a level). Players are therefore able to improve the conditions for said units. This feature therefore allows for more intelligent management of army units.